PROS: Sugary Scandal

Jordan Meaker, Center Stage Editor

It’s midway through a Monday morning, and you’re feeling the lack of sleep from your all-night homework session hard. You think the only thing that can brighten your mood is a massive Dr. Pepper and a bag of M&Ms from the school store. But, tired, drowsy, student, think again. Those sugary snacks may give you a quick spurt of energy, but they will not sustain you all day. The temptation of these sweet snacks is too great to resist when they are only a walk down the hall away, in our vending machines and on the shelves of the school store. That’s why I feel that Michelle Obama’s initiative to rid our schools of candy and junk food will be greatly beneficial to us all. I know I may hold the unpopular opinion, but I believe that taking out the junk food from our school is absolutely not the end of the world.

Ridding our school snack shacks of fatty, unhealthy snacks achieves a major purpose: erasing the temptation factor when students are choosing the snacks they want to buy. When a can of Coke chock-full of sugar is just one trip down the hall and a dollar away, there’s not much stopping students from taking full advantage of the availability of the beverage. This can lead to the development of the habit of buying a soda every day, which can be extremely detrimental to the health of a growing teenager. The American Heart Association says that men should consume only 37.5 grams of sugar a day, and women, 25 grams. These numbers are equivalent to less than a 12 ounce can of Coke a day, which contains 39 grams of sugar. Restocking the shelves with healthier choices has the potential to greatly reduce many students’ sugar intake while also giving the energy boost that students desire from their snacks.

So, what newer, healthier foods can we look forward to finding on the shelves of the school store? Snacks such as hummus, Clif Bars, cereal bars, and whole-grain Pop Tarts are now available for purchase. These snacks contain energy boosting nutrients that can carry you through the day. All of these types of snacks also have the added benefit of making you feel fuller for longer, so you don’t have to keep going back to buy more snacks. For example, according to WebMD, chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are a super food full of protein and fiber. Chickpeas also, “routinely top lists of the world’s healthiest foods.” Clif Bars are among the healthiest energy bars out there. The company is proud of the fact that the bars are made out of 70% organic ingredients. Clif Bars also “contain carbohydrates, good amounts of protein (9-11 grams) and good amounts of fiber.” These nutrient and fiber-dense options can more effectively ward of hunger pangs in the long hours before lunchtime, and they also give you long-lasting energy, rather than just a quick spurt.

So, fear not, fellow students, for I foresee this switch to health-foods being beneficial in the long run. And, honestly, if you need your snacks and candy so badly, there is a Publix right down the street from our school. No one is stopping you from going there and buying as many Ho-Ho’s as it takes to drown out your exhaustion-induced sorrows. But the next time you do decide to snack, snack wisely. It could be the difference between acing a test because of your boundless energy or falling asleep in Physics class and waking up to the painful rumblings of your nutrient-deprived stomach.